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The City Journals

Witchfest 2019 aims to boost fun and economy in West Jordan

Sep 09, 2019 01:28PM ● By Jordan Hafford

Six Hags Witches Adventure play place at Witchfest 2018 (Jordan Hafford/City Journals)

By Jordan Hafford | [email protected]

How does Gardner Village attract all 125,000 of the witchiest residents to Witchfest each Halloween season? With 3,000 hay bales, 600 corn stalks and 30,000 pounds of pumpkins and countless hours of creative work months beforehand. 

“Our goal with Witchfest is to keep it family friendly,” said Gardner Village President and Owner Angie Gerdes. “The focus with the witch displays, corn stalks, hay bales and pumpkins is to keep them whimsical, friendly and never scary or gory. Most Halloween events edge on the scary and gory. We want people of all ages to come and feel safe and have fun.”

Gardner Village’s Witchfest has become a tradition for families and especially ladies throughout Utah, and even draws people from across the country. There are groups who actually fly in each year for a weekend just for the event. 

The event brings thousands of people for the activities Witchfest provides, which helps Gardner Village’s business and West Jordan. October accounts for Gardner Village’s highest sales of the year. There was 8% sales growth from 2017–2018 during Witchfest, which is expected to climb this coming season. 

Along with the business it attracts, Witchfest also employs more than 300 people each year, which is a 20% staff increase during the festival period. 

The 45-day event is so popular that Gardner Village has to hire professional parking crews to get people in and out of the area safely.

Witches Night Out is an event at Witchfest geared toward women 18 years and older. Wee Witches Weekend is held during UEA and is specifically for young children.

Countless hours are put into the witch displays. Gardner Village hires a talented crew of trained designers and set up people each year. Gerdes said there was a huge initial investment to create the witches, but each year they are re-dressed and placed in new unique settings. Gardner Village attracts the most creative people for their extravagant displays at Witchfest who can showcase their skills and creativity in this project. 

Gardner Village has recently added a new Wheel room to its restaurant, Archibald's. This room is in the historic mill built in 1853 and listed on the national historic register. Along with this, they have created a Witches Wine dinner — geared to adult women — a unique specialty dinner with entertainment paired with wines.

As a locally owned business with many independent retails who own and operate shops here, Gardner Village takes a lot of pride in their annual Witchfest. Gardner Village will be celebrating its 40th year in business next year.

“We love hearing stories of families coming here throughout the year to enjoy time together in a slower, unusual atmosphere,” Gerdes said. “Witchfest brings huge crowds who feel it is worthwhile and fun. It is great fun this time of year for us to dress up and act like kids again ourselves while we put this festival together.”

For information go to www.gardnervillage.com where all Witchfest activities and tickets are on sale now.